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Olympic torch undergoes redesign prior to its outer space trip

October 15, 2013, 17:10 UTC+3

The Olympic torch designed for outer space is almost the same as the one designed for the Earth

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

ZVYOZDNY GORODOK (MOSCOW REGION), October 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russian cosmonauts from the International Space Station, Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy, will take an Olympic torch into outer space on November 9.

Sergei Krikalyov, the head of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, told journalists on Tuesday that the torch had been modernized for the purpose and had been provided with additional safety devices to prevent it from slipping out.

“The Olympic torch designed for outer space is almost the same as the one designed for the Earth. The only difference is that the former lacks gas. The torch’s design has been improved for the forthcoming spacewalk: an additional fixation element was added to the design to make it possible to fix a flag so that it does not fly away by accident,” Krikalyov said.

He explained that the idea to light a torch in outer space or at the International Space Station (ISS) was, in fact, unrealizable. “The idea to deliver the torch to the ISS as part of the Olympic flame relay race belongs to the Olympic Committee. But although the torch will certainly reach the International Space Station, no flame will be lit inside or outside the ISS. First, fire does not burn in outer space. Second, the ISS fire safety regulations strictly forbid the use of open fire inside the station,” Krikalyov went on to say.

He did not elaborate on how exactly the Olympic symbol would be taken to open space. The only thing he said was that while in the hands of the cosmonauts, the Olympic torch would rotate around the globe several times. According to Krikalyov, the crew commanded by Fyodor Yurchikhin will return the Olympic torch back to Earth on November 11, 2013. 

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